So 2013 saw the release and battle of the next generation’s consoles. No matter where you’re from it was pretty big news.
Big enough to even feature as a theme in South Park‘s brilliant season seventeen three-parter that hurled the console wars into the mix with Game of Thrones and the madness of Black Friday.
Both Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One rock some pretty advanced features, but of course both have problems.
Let’s delve into what makes the Xbox One great, as well as its flaws.
Features of the Xbox One
The Xbox One features voice recognition software that powers the console.
This makes it easy for the console’s user to give the Xbox One clear voice commands which it can then carry out, such as ‘Xbox on,’ or ‘Xbox, TV’.
Due to the new built-in Kinect, the Xbox One can also be controlled with gestures, like a simple swipe of the hand, or by grabbing and dragging things.
The new Kinect has a 1080p camera and thus offers such a high standard of movement-tracking that it can even detect the slightest wrist movements, meaning that the possibilities for the gesture control are vast and numerous when the waggling of individual digits could mean individual commands.
The new Kinect is even smart enough to recognize different people by identifying their faces.
It syncs and stores this information with this person’s Gamertag and Xbox Live account should they sign on to a friend’s console.
This means that if several people are gaming on one console which has all of their information stored, the camera on the Kinect is able to identify which player is holding the controller in order to do things such as update a game’s scores.
The Xbox One also has a better and more improved version of Skype – although this is hardly surprising as both are made by Microsoft.
The new version of Skype released for Xbox One features an original HD video-conferencing mode, which works through the updated Kinect.
You can also Skype with your friends whilst watching TV or playing a game.
Although the price of Xbox Live hasn’t changed, there are many new features this version brings to the table.
It now runs off 300,000 servers – that’s more than the entire world’s computing power in 1999!
All of your data – from movies, TV, games, apps, music and more – is to be stored on Microsoft’s servers on something called ‘The Cloud’.
New and Improved
There are also several new features to Xbox Live that come along with the Xbox One.
The worn five-star reputation system has been greatly updated, with a more consistent filtering of the players with a lower reputation.
This means that all those trolls will eventually be locked in dungeons away from any decent people actually trying to play a game.
Finding an online lobby has also changed. Used to be you just entered a lobby and waited for players.
With the new Party Scout system on Xbox One, you can specify exactly what you are looking for: people with certain DLC, age, skill, level, language, and more!
Also thanks to the new integrated entertainment features of the Xbox One, players can now switch to TV or the internet whilst your device continues hunting for a lobby.
The Xbox One also comes with a new Game DVR feature, which means you can easily record and share footage of your gameplay.
Due to Twitch TV, gamers will also be able to stream any game live to viewers online as well as being permitted to view other gamers’ live streams.
The rewards for completing achievements have also changed, too, as well as the addition of new achievements.
They will now grant you things like artwork, map unlocks, and in-game character and item unlocks.
Every app on the Xbox One can do this, not just the games, although it is only the games that earn you Gamerscore.
When starting a game, the Xbox One now show the player how close they are to gaining certain achievements, as well as how close their friends are to unlocking them too.
The Xbox One also features a new mode that means it will automatically download and install system software updates when connected to the internet, meaning there’s no more waiting for the updates to download and install when you’ve just turned your console on.
It also creates a personalized, ad-free home screen for each individual player.
The new Xbox One has taken away some of the more frustrating features of previous generation gaming.
One such thing is the non-regionalization of games.
This means that any game from any country can be played on any Xbox One, granted that the game’s publisher hasn’t restricted it.
The Xbox One has 8 GB of memory, as well as a gathering of USB ports, and a Blu-Ray player.
The Xbox One also has a HDMI input, meaning that for those of you who will keep your Xbox 360, you will be able to plug it in to your Xbox One and run it through that as you can’t play Xbox 360 games on your new Xbox One.
The Xbox One runs on three operating systems: the Xbox One system, a Windows 8 kernel, and a third operating system made by Microsoft to act as glue between the two main operating systems.
This helps aid the seamlessness of the ability to switch between games, TV, the web and any other apps.
It can clearly be seen why the Xbox One has been marketed as more than just a video game console. Microsoft is really trying to change the home entertainment ecosystem by building a machine that does everything.
This was their first discussion point in their press release for the Xbox One, and they even went on to refer to the Xbox One as an ‘entertainment console’ rather than a ‘video game console’.
So there are many interesting and outright cool features about the Xbox One. But there are also some niggling concerns that give gamers cause for pause.
Problems with the Xbox One
One of the largest concerns for gamers moving to the next generation is the issue raised by used games and whether or not gamers would have to pay an extra fee on top of the retail fee in order to play their second-hand games.
Microsoft’s Major Nelson (Larry Hyrb) addressed the issue of pre-owned games saying “We have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail.
Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios.”
This leaves some ambiguity on whether or not a gamer has to pay an extra fee upon buying a pre-owned game.
Major Nelson also stated “should you choose to play your game at your friend’s house, there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile.”
But this only makes matters more unclear – if not signed in to your profile do you have to pay an extra fee?
If so, then this would mean any gamer buying a second-hand game would have to pay the extra fee.
It has also been confirmed that the Xbox One will not have to be always connected to the internet and will work offline. However, it does need to connect to the internet every 24 hours to function. So this means that there would be no using your Xbox One somewhere remote and lacking an internet connection.
My final down-point about the Xbox One is the new version of Kinect. Yes, it has some pretty cool features.
And yes, it is extremely advanced. But do you not find a little strange how it lacks any viable off mode? How it is always watching you?
Microsoft have registered for a patent that would allow the Xbox One’s Kinect to identify the number of people in the room and potentially restrict content based on whether it verifies their right to the product.
This has unlimited negative potential.
One such example would be if there are unregistered users of Netflix in the room, the Kinect could identify them and thus disallow the viewers the ability to watch certain content.
Although this is only speculation so early on, Microsoft have been vague about the matter yet again, simply stating “Microsoft regularly applies for and receives patents as part of its business practice; not all patents applied for or received will be incorporated into a Microsoft product.”
Although it is still early days with the next-gen machines, it’s clear that Microsoft are trying to step it up a notch, however, which is something all gamers have been thirsting for since the release of the last generation’s consoles.
Sure it may have some problems, but we still live in an age where technology is growing (albeit rapidly) and nothing is initially problem free.
We here at The Fact Site would be delighted to know what you do and don’t like about the Xbox One if you have it.
And if you don’t, then why? As ever, thanks for reading.